Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Last Day

"The most important day of your marriage is the last day." 

In his book Real Marriage, Mark Driscoll makes this very real and valid point.  So often we spend all our energy on planning the first day - the flowers, the cake, the dress and all the many, many other details - yet not considering the rest of the marriage and indeed that dreadful last day.  Nobody can be sure how exactly their marriage will end, but of this you can know for sure - it will be a dreadful, soul destroying and life changing day. For the breaking of a whole, the ripping in two, will leave a large, bleeding wound.

The last day came for Jouke and I far to soon.  

Dreadful.  Haunting. Painful.  

A kind of pain I have never felt before nor wish to ever feel again.  A pain, an ache, that follows you, never leaves your side and eventually just becomes part of the tapestry of you.  It changes you when a marriage ends.  It has to because half of you is taken.    

When that marriage ended I was left with many "what ifs" and regrets.  What if, I had just called when I felt compelled to? What if, he didn't go to work that day? What if somebody was there with him? Why didn't I get a chance to say goodbye? Why didn't I wake up as he was leaving for work and say "I love you" one last time? I should have been more loving, gracious, kind!  We should have laughed more.

But (and this is a big but), everyday - every. single. day - I thank Jesus that when our last day came, when we fulfilled our vows "until death do us part", that day was a good day.  About our last day I have no regrets, nor do I feel any guilt.  We were not perfect and neither was our marriage, but we loved well and our last day was a great day.  

I have often wondered what it would have been like if things were different.  What if our last day was filled with yelling, ugly words and pain?  What if he drove away while we still had anger or things to work through?  Would I be so far down to road in terms of healing? Would my grief be tainted by guilt and as a result be a crushing, deadening weight that I just cannot bear?

Or what if our last day was not as a result of death, but instead our own foolish mistakes that ended in papers being signed, custody arrangements made and lives dividing.  What if, instead of loving we had simply fallen out of love, drifted apart, forgotten how to love and be loved?  How does one carry that weight?  What would it feel like when your last day is littered with not just pain, but shame and guilt?

I ponder these things often.  I thank Jesus daily, for grace, mercy and what was.  And daily, I lay at his feet what is.  I beg for more grace, more mercy and that when Adrian and I reach our last day that it too, will be a good day.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

At our Saviours feet

It was dark and quiet.  The kids were already tucked in, their steady quiet breaths bringing this Mamma deep joy and peace.  I had just stepped out to the shower,  to find him sitting in the dark by the fire.  It was all aglow, new logs stacked high, promising warmth while we sleep.  There was not other light, just the glow of the burning timber.

I curl on the floor next to him watching the flames.  We chat quietly about the day.  Deep things and hard things, easy things and fun things.  We share our struggles while laughing at yet another crazy thing one of the kids came up with.  He shares his deep heart about people who are hurting and broken and needing to know the Saviour.  I love him more with every word.

Then, right there, in the glow and quiet, he takes my hand and we pray.  Long and slow, pouring our hearts out to our Father.  Thanks and gratitude laid at the Saviours feet right along side many requests of guidance, patience, strength and clarity.

And in that moment I cannot love this man any more.  Because loving a man who loves others is easy, because trusting a man who loves Jesus comes effortlessly and because when a man prays for you, it is impossible to not love him.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dismount with gratitude

Its dark down there. Ugly dark. When I stand close enough to the edge I can feel a cold, cold breeze coming up from the bottom and it chills me to the core. Its slippery paths that leads me there are treacherous and lonely and once you have walked them turning back is not always easy. That black pit, it scares me and yet here I find myself standing at its edges again. I have been here before. Once. After Jouke died. The black hole of depression nearly pulled me in. Nearly took all of me.

But I choose to not let it take me, for me but mostly for my kids. I fought with all that I was and with everything I had and I won. Slowly the sun was warm again. Slowly the stench and filth of that dark, ugly place left me, bit by bit.

Now 3 years later I am finding myself on that edge again, looking down at blackness and knowing that if I do not turn and fight, turn and run, turn and CHOOSE to win, I will be sucked in. Why now? The left-over, rippling effects of grief? The aftermath of a hard pregnancy and rocky start? Exhaustion? A disconnect from God and failing to spend time with Him?
I suspect all of these.

So this is me choosing to not go there. Choosing to win, for me but mostly for my kids. Because they do not deserve to loose 2 parents, because as a mother its my job to be there, to be available and to teach my children that life is worth it.

I have this posted on my kitchen wall. I look at it often but rarely to I see. This morning a saw and this was my challenge:

Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

Gratefulness. For the big, for the small, for the everyday, for the unseen, for the obvious and for every gift given everyday that I take for granted. It will start a gratitude journal today. I will commit to everyday finding joy in every small blessing. Because I serve a God that is good, that gives only good things.

I will endeavour to post most days with the things I am choosing to see. The beauty of everyday. Even if I don't post here I will still be writing in my journal. I am starting today. I am choosing to fight.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Last night after I tucked Anja into bed and said our prayers and called out "I love you like a strawberry!", I heard her call out: "Mamma, why did Jesus make me?"

How surprised I was by that question. I question briefly why she would be wondering about something like that. "I think, He made you because He loves you and because He has a plan for you." She seems satisfied by that.

Then at Bible study, not an hour later we read Ephesians and I am struck by this verse:

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." Eph 1:4-6

I am struck that before the creation of the world, before anything was here and before we were even a speck of a though, Jesus chose us. He created us in love, adopted us as his children and has given us his grace, in accordance with his pleasure and because he wanted to!

What a beautiful reassurance that I was not a mistake. I was created with purpose, I am loved and I am showered in grace, by the God who created the universe, who holds all things in his hand! My only response can be to fall on my knees in thanksgiving and praise. And with joy I will be teaching my children that they too are here because they are chosen and loved.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Oh dear, that last post was HEAVY.

Sorry about that. Didn't mean to make everyone live with me through the hard stuff. I find that when a memory like that pops into my mind, it will tend to stay there, milling around and around until I finally let it out. I think my "real life" friends are getting tired if hearing it all, all. the. time. So sorry blog friends, you got an ear-full.

Today will be a much lighter. I thought it time for a general update. Lots has happened over the last few months. We might have to add sub headings...

So we moved into this house. Its bigger (much) than the old place with a HUGE backyard full of...nothing. 2000sqm with absolutely nothing. Within a week of moving in we planted 5 trees and then a few weeks later started the work for a rather large veggie patch. We have also just invested in a few fruit trees and have plans for a few more to come.

Inside the progress has been a little slower. The kitchen, sadly, is pink. And if you know anything about me, pink is not a colour that I like, at all. And the walls, while it is tasteful, is painted a not-so-bad neutral that has a pink undertone. So, I have plans for this place, but first we need to get rid of the pink and that will require money and a lot of paint. I have none of either so, we wait.

Adrian has however done one thing inside the house that has made a massive difference. Our large L-shaped living room, was a very bad use of space. I used one corner as a sewing room and office, but it was always a mess and everybody coming into the house was faced squarely with said mess. So my darling husband (being the handy chippy that he is) build me a wall and added a door. I now officially own a sewing room! I have to share it with guests when they come to stay, but its a small price to pay for a space to be creative in.

Since getting married (while on the honeymoon, actually) Adrian got offered a position at the mines in Orange. He was very excited about the change to get back into mining and maybe to say goodbye to carpentry for good. The hours were insane. 12 hours shifts on a 4 day rotating roster.
4 day shifts
4 days off
4 night shifts
4 days off, etc
...add in 2 hours drive time everyday, it was nuts. He was always tired and the kids and I were struggling with routine and structure. So 6 months in he let that go and moved back to carpentry in town.

But, he hated it. He worked really hard, really long hours and was not enjoying where he was at, at all. But he didn't know where to go and while paying the mortgage on our new house (waiting for the other one to sell) he needed the work.
But God had other plans. He always does. Adrian was feeling restless for a reason and God wanted to get his attention. One Monday night whilst watching a little TV the phone rings. Its Adrians boss ringing to tell him that he had lost a major contract and now had no more work to offer him. We were shocked. What now?
It took nearly a month before Adrian finally found work again. It was tough. He really struggled with not having a job and worst still not knowing where to go next. Money was tight, but God provided EVERY time. And finally, in the midst of resumes and job applications, Adrian admitted that he has always thought about teaching. So he approached the university and found some more information. Its looking that as of next year February he will be going to uni. I am so proud of him. For the way he handled the difficult month, for finding little jobs to do in the meantime which kept food on our table, for being really honest, but mostly for listen to God and for being willing to make this radical change in career knowing he is being lead there.

As a blended family we have settled in with each other rather well. As can be expected there are some days that are harder than others, but God is so gracious and He is leading us every step of the way. We are learning to parent together and Adrian is getting used to the pace of family life.

Tiaan is now just shy of 7. He has got 2 brand new teeth, 3 missing teeth and 1 wobbly tooth. He is reading really well and is settled at school. He is my baby, but he is getting taller by the minute and I just know that in a few more years he will make me look short.

Anja turned 5 just last week. She is a gentle, quite spirit. She loves deeply and once you have gained her trust you will have a friend for life. She knows what she wants in life and at times we can lock heads, but I trust that Jesus has got a very special place for her. She starts school next year. She is excited and Mamma just wants to told her a little longer.

Alani is now 3.5. She sings and dances even when people are watching. She loves everybody and makes friends easily. She has totally wild hair and it matches who she is perfectly. At times it is hard to deal with her 3 yr old behaviour but every night after tucking her into bed she calls out - "Mamma, I love you much! I love you like a jellybean." All fights are forgiven.

And then in January 2012 we will be adding a little soul to our lives. I suspect this little one will be just as lovable and wonderful, but will look just a little different to the rest. Adrian will gain the title Daddy and my children will gain a little sibling. We genuinely cannot wait. I am starting to feel the gentle flutters of little feet in my belly and it brings with it waves of love and longing to meet this new little person.

So there you have it. Lots going on in our little lives. But its all good, because we serve a God who takes even the hard stuff and makes it perfect and uses it to bless us and to wrap us in His love.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pocket goodbyes

People are moving around me. Silently, but filling my space. The busyness around me is distracting, but without these people I just wouldn't cope, so I try to block it out. I stare at the blank piece of paper, thinking about what to write. How do you write your final goodbye?

Tiaan had already handed me his favourite matchbox car - "For Pappa to play with in heaven". Anja drew a picture. It's a few colourful lines, but it's her goodbye and I carefully fold it before putting it in the pocket of his shirt. Alani is too small. She can't know yet how to say goodbye, what to offer. Instead I cut a small curly, the curls he loved so much, and put it in an envelope also tucked in his pocket.

I find it strange that I am even doing this. Words fill the page. Words of love and tears fall there too, as I do my best to express my love for the one I lost on a small sheet of paper. Strange that I now don't remember what I said except for knowing that it was all that I could offer at the time.

Earlier that day I had ironed his shirt for the last time and now I placed all these goodbyes in the top pocket before sending it to the morgue. Lastly I add a photo of the kids taken at Christmas.

These things, tokens, were buried with him. Held in the pocket over his heart. I know, with my head, that they don't matter. This body is now but an empty shell. But my heart is comforted that we did something, something, to say goodbye.

I woke this morning with this memory, fresh like it was only yesterday. I wonder why today. I don't know, but today it matters again that in the craziness of that week with dozens of people pouring into the house, we still took the time to do something to say goodbye.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Radio silence

I have been somewhat absent from the blog world. I think often of things to write, stories I want to share, thoughts I want to make real by giving them words. But sadly, nothing. I mean to, but nothing.

I am unsure of the reasons, but I suspect that mainly life has been busy and full and consuming of my time and energy. I am working on some new posts (in my head) and I am hoping to start blogging regularly again soon. Really I want to.

Soon, soon, I will be back...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Master's tools

His supervisor sends him to run a quick errand. He's not gone for longer than 3 minutes and when he returns he finds the worst - life is forever changed. Another work place accident. Another life lost that has a catastrophic rippling effect. My heart bleeds for that young apprentice - how do you ever look at life the same way?
I am just as sympathetic to the other workers at that factory who will never again just go to work.
But mostly I am sad for the family that has lost their husband, father and friend.

When our pastor was telling us about this accident last Sunday, I began to shake. Partly because this story is all to familiar. Mostly because I wondered how I could possibly help. How, with all that I had been through and all that I know, can I reach out to these people to let them know that they are not alone? To tell them of the hope that Jesus offers.

That is when I realised that after nearly two years of being so solely focused on myself I am finally become strong enough (only by God's mercy) to start to look to others and to feel as though I might be of some help. Right from the start of this journey I have maintained that God would not put me through this journey if He did not need to teach me some lessons, to make me stronger, more useful. Is that not after all the reason we are here: for God's glory?

Quite be 'accident' I stumbled across a wonderful website a few weeks ago. Ann writes beautifully. He words are healing. Her story is powerful. I believe God needed me to find her writing, so that I could learn from her, so that I could be more and live more fully. She says this in one of her wonderful posts:

God only makes strong tools out of those weak enough to know they need Him.

And maybe that is what has been happening this last 2 years. More then ever, I KNOW that I need Jesus. I am not strong enough to face this world alone, to carry my burdens or to be of any use to anybody. But with Jesus, in His strength, I am.

My heart has been beating wildly all week long. It is freeing and humbling to know - to KNOW - who I am in Jesus. To know for sure that no matter what, He is in control, He is working it all for my good and to not just believe it but to see it in my life. I am so filled with gratitude! And now I am also beginning to fill with the wonder of possibility. The possibility of, together with Adrian, finding a ministry and working for Jesus. I want to help others to know Him and to use what I am learning to walk a little with somebody else on their journey.

Pray with me that God will show us where we are needed and how we can serve. Pray also that we remain humble before Him and completely aware of our dependence on Him.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Start

Tomorrow we pack up our things and we are moving into our new home. We are giving us a fresh start. We cannot wait!
A new space in which we can grow into a family.
A new space free of pain and dark memories.
A place were Adrian and I can truly become one, free of the fear of stepping on and damaging memories.

This is my way of honouring both men in my life.

McBrien Drive will become Adrian and Ansia's. It will be the place that we will fill with memories and fun and happiness. Adrian deserves this. Our marriage and our family deserves this.

I am leaving Jouke's space and the memory of our life together, clean. We had a great life together and we were truly, truly happy. This house was our place and it will now forever be Jouke and Ansia's.

I'm not sure how I will feel when the house is empty and we finally have to say goodbye. Part of me is really, really sad. Sad that another part of the J&A story is over, sad that we had to say goodbye at all. Another part is excited to be moving on (quite literally) and this amazing chance for a brand new start.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Through the pain

Just yesterday I started writing a post about how blissfully normal my life has become. But distracted by the the blissful 'normalness' I didn't complete what I was writing.

Completely true to form, today is anything from blissful. Grief is taken a hold again and today I am having trouble focusing on anything positive. But, I will remind myself, life is good, blissful, normal and completely OK. This turmoil I feel is not 'out there' but 'in here' and really everything is ok. It is just me, feeling all this awfulness fresh today.

I refuse to be dragged down by it. While there has to be space in my life for grief and pain, to allow healthy grieving, I will not be dragged down to a pit of darkness that will take me days or weeks to climb out of. So, instead, I will recognize, that this 19th would have been our wedding anniversary and that yes it is still awful here without Jouke. Yes, I still miss him. Everything about him. And yes, it still hurts. A lot.

But I was also recognize that I am surrounded by so many GREAT things.

I am surrounded by 3 little humans who I love because:

* they remind me everyday of their Pappa
* they are complete human beings with their own personalities, sense of humour, fears, quirks and oddities and that makes everyday busy and fun
* they learn new things everyday and life is new and exciting through their eyes
* I get many fuzzy hugs everyday (sometimes because they need them, but mostly because I need to feel their little arms around my neck)
* they say the funniest things
* they love me right back

I am loved by a great guy whom I love because:

* he so willingly puts up with all of us and does so with a smile
* he never answers the phone in a normal way.
* he calls me princess, babe or bub
* he loves fun and is fun to be around
* things get done with he is home. He's not lazy and doesn't mind helping out
* he has got a big heart and thinks of others first
* he loves me right back

So, see, when you think about it, everything is OK. Because I am surrounded by love. And because I know that this is what Jouke would have wanted for us. To get on with it, to be loved and to fight through the pain to see all the good things everyday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chenille Baby Blanket

Yesterday's post might be somewhat explained by today's post. It might explain why I have been rather disinterested in cleaning. You see my darling husband bought me a present. A brand new sewing machine!!! I have wanted a Bernina for oh, so, long and I am very, very happy with it.

And that, combined with this post over at Dana's blog, left me completely inspired to try my hand at making on of these beautiful chenille blankets for a friend who is about to have a baby. I needed a little more information and so I had a dig around the internet and came across this tutorial that showed exactly what need to be done.

Let me warn you that this is not a "complete in an afternoon" project. While it is very simple to do, it is somewhat time consuming and rather repetitive. That said, I could not be happier with the result and would definitely be making more.

Also it is absolutely worth spending the $30 to buy a chenille cutter as it makes the job if cutting the flannel so much easier and also ensures you don't cut through your backing fabric (which knowing me, I would have done).

I cannot wait to give this lovely soft blanket to my dear, dear friend. It is so perfectly suited to tiny newborns, as it is soft and cosy and has the promise of getting softer with every wash.

Next time I will do it a little differently, though. While I used good quality quilter's cotton for the backing I think that a heavier home decor fabric would have worked better, by providing more stability. Also, I would not be making it out of a fabric with a very linear symmetrical pattern again. Only because, the quilting has pulled the fabric a little and now my rows aren't lining up as I would have liked.

That aside, what an easy and fun project to do! It is just as lovely as I had hoped and I do pray that little baby toes with spend many hours soundly asleep under it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Mamma's of Blogworld I need your help!

After a long and somewhat painful conversation with my loving and very supportive husband I have come to realise that my housekeeping skills are, well, somewhat lacking. I just don't like cleaning and I am far to easily distracted by other, far more, appealing things. While the house isn't completely drowning in clutter and mess, there are very clearly some areas in need of improvement.

I want to be better at it. I want to give my husband and children a peaceful and clean home to live in and I don't want to constantly feel as though I am lacking.

What do you do it keep a clean home? Do you have a cleaning roster? Do you dedicate a specific amount of time everyday to cleaning? Do you hire help? How do you fit in cleaning, washing, cooking, parenting and stay sane?

Please tell me what you do. Inspire me and help me be the wife and mother I so desperately want to be!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Because I love you...

I bought Kasey Chambers' new CD yesterday and when I got to the car I popped it straight in. I love her music and I love the new CD. Much to my delight I found that there was a secret song at the end of the album. The lyrics are so beautiful.

Mix all my words up and say it all wrong
Don't see enough, but I stare way to long.
These are the stupid things that I do 'cause I love you.

This is exactly how I am feeling. Completely besotted, stupidly in love and crazy about the man I call my husband. Oh, to be so blessed!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sunny summer dress

It seems that I have got a real little princess on my hands. Little miss Anja is refusing to wear anything but dresses and skirts and after day upon day of fights in the morning I have given in and made her a whole stack of skirts and a dress so that she can wear something twirly everyday of the week.

I have made the circle skirt and the market skirt, both found on Dana's blog and they were so easy and quick to sew. I set myself the challenge to use only fabric out of my stash so the only money I spend was some wide elastic that came to a total of $5.

By far my favourite princess outfit thought, is this little dress that made today out of fabric I bought last year from the remnants bin. I made it following this tutorial and I just love the fullness of the skirt and the shirring in the back. Obviously, my princess loves it, but then what little girl doesn't love a twirly dress, in bright sunshine yellow?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Little Miss Anja has always worried me. Out of the 3 kids she felt the death of her Pappa so violently that it shook ever part of her being and displayed itself in every way possible. Everyday I would lift her up to Jesus (as I do with all my children) and ask that He would carry her through and bring her out stronger on the other side. Everyday I did all I could to show her love and to help her through.

And while I still pray for her daily and fear for her in this world, I now believe that she is starting to do better. I know because she is sleeping, she has finally starting to manage to make it to the toilet on time and she is laughing real belly laughs again.

I also know because her drawings have changed. For a long time she just drew pictures of sad things or really scary things. Lately though, people are always smiling and there are lots of princesses and butterflies and sunshine in her pictures. She drew these today. If you can't tell, that is me next to our house and the one below is the dog next to its kennel. I think they are just too cute.

And then this one put a real big smile on my face. Its a picture of me and Adrian and a love heart "because you really like him Mamma". There is also a picture of my engagement ring, a toadstool and a butterfly and down the bottom she wrote her name (in mirror image) and drew a picture of herself.

Slowly-but-surely she is starting to come out the other side. I don't believe that her grief is by any stretch of the imagination over, but at least for right now, she is coping better. And I praise God for that!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Foiled Plans

I woke this morning with a long list of plans for the day. I was going to sew some summer skirts for my girl who is refusing to wear pants, finish digging and planting the front garden and have a picnic with the kids. Non of that happened. I'll show you why:


In the middle of October! Right here in town, after we've had a week of warm sunny weather that made me hopeful that I could finally pack our winter clothes away.

The kids thought it was great and had so much fun.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I often dig around this blog and her writing often has me laughing, but more often leaves me in tears. Powerful, scary and oh, so, real.

Her latest post is simply a quote from Ernest Hemingway. It says:

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

May it also be true about me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Still not over

I just got off a phone call from WorkCover. I get these 'update' phone calls every so often to tell me where the process is up to. Every time it's the same thing: the investigation is in progress. We still don't know what the final outcome will be.

Little does the person on the other end of the line know how much these calls upset me. Little does she know that she manages to shatter a perfectly fine day by reminding me, yet again that Jouke is dead and that I might yet have to face court to pin criminal charges on people that I consider friends.

Its the same way I am rattled by paperwork and banks and solicitors. Last week I filed paperwork to claim outstanding long service leave and for the first time in a long time, I had to write his name again. I was physically shaking by the end. The same way I was shaking after an appointment with the solicitor to update our wills. He was casually asking about what would happen should we die one day.

Like the one day, that came to soon.

I am terrified will come too soon again.

Death is messy, its ugly and it follows you. Even on sunny days, when all else is fine, it manages to rattle you to the core and remind you of the fragility of life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Not so many months ago I remember talking to a friend about Jouke's death and how we were coping. I remember telling her that one of the hardest changes that I had to make was a shift in language. In an effort to help my brain to except the death of my spouse I forced myself to start referring to things as mine and to use me and I. What a struggle! I constantly kept on referring to our, us and we. And ever time I did use me or mine I would feel the pain of loss again.

It did however, over time, become normal. I got used to being me and referring to my house, my bed, my car. In part, it was rebellion. Maybe even pride. Like a 'watch-me-do-it-alone' attitude. I hated being alone, going alone, doing alone, but I was slowly adjusting to that and in small ways (very small ways) loved the freedom to choose, like what I watched on TV.

Thing is, now that I am married again, I am finding that I have to adjust back again to us, we, ours. I love it, but for some reason it has taking a while for me to fully get my head around it. Finally, gladly it is our house, our car, our bed! My head will just take a minute to catch up.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 things

Right now life is good. Its not easy, its not stress-free, its not uncomplicated, but it is good. Right now, smiling is easy and the gap between tears is starting to widen. Here are 5 things that I am particularly loving right now:

1. Laying in bed and talking to someone about the day. And hearing "Goodnight, I love you" just before I fall asleep.

2. How settled the kids are at the moment. For the last week I have only had to deal with normal childhood issues. Normal tantrums, normal tears, normal giggles and a lot more smiles and laughing. I love that!!

3. Standing in front of the deli counter yesterday, as I am placing my order, the phone rings. I ask the lady to wait while I quickly answer, only the hear Adrian singing "I just called to say, I love you" on the other end of the line. I giggle nervously and the sales person waits patiently. It put a smile on my face the rest of the day. Oh, how to be loved changes the colour of any day!

4. Spring days, friends, coffee and lots of chatter.

5. Being so completely aware of God's love, and knowing for sure that He is in control of whatever life holds.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Brand New Day

Two weeks ago I got married. What a day!!! I thought I would be nervous and emotional. I thought it would be bitter sweet. But I loved it. It was exactly as I had hoped, filled with family and friends with the focus on God and His grace. And of course, Adrian. The sweet funny-man who is now my husband. I am oh, so, blessed!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I was listening to a sermon series by Mark Driscoll titled "Redeeming Ruth". In it Mark explains the story of Ruth and how that reflects the story of Jesus. Much as Boaz redeemed Ruth, a broken, poor widow and gave her a second chance, so Jesus is redeeming us. Because of His work on the cross we are saved, redeemed and given a second chance at life and the promise of eternity. What a wonderful story!!!

Mark, in the same series, also took some time to talk to young unmarried men and call them to stand up and become men and be like Boaz, offering women, widows and Godly single mothers and new life by being their redeemers (with a little r). It is a Christ-like, selfless act to take on a women that cames with baggage, that has been through trials and who does not fit the worlds standard of perfection.

I am marrying one such man. His love for Jesus is his most precious quality followed closely by his love for others. He has listened to God's call and opened his heart and life to me and my three kids. He calls us his package deal.

I am reminded of God's love and Jesus' promise of salvation every time I look at him. And as my mum said: "How is it that in your 29 years you have have managed to snag 2 of the most amazing men you will ever meet. It is definitely a God thing!"

I agree! Praise Jesus.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sick of it!

I am so sick of everything I do, everyday, being somehow tainted with grief and sadness. Even the happiest things.
I watched my son sing in his kindergarten choir and I cried.
I laughed at my little girl's antics and then in the next breath I feel like crying.
I am planning my wedding! I am happy, but always, somewhere, there is the knowledge that this wouldn't be happening if it was not for the loss of a great man.

Today I did a really great thing. I rearranged my wardrobe to make space for my soon-to-be husband. The wedding is getting that close. In 30 sleeps I don't have to sleep alone anymore. I am so excited!

But what sucks about grief is that these things also makes me sad. Sad, because it screams so loudly that Jouke isn't coming back.

And I hate that death has robbed me of joy even in the happiest of moments!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My kids

I love these guys. They are fun and they keep me sane and make me laugh!

* I realise that Tiaan's photo should have been rotated, but I just can't seem to get it to. Sorry. Just turn your head sideways, it helps.

Really good day

Anja said grace at dinner tonight:

"Dear God, dankie for Pappa up in the sky, dankie for mum making us dinner, dankie for going to school today, dankie for Timmy bringing us a present, dankie for a really good day. Dankie for everything. Amen."

Indeed, dankie for a really good day!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


A few nights ago, Tiaan called out to me from his bed. "Can I phone Pappa, please?", he asked. "Oh sweet, you know that we can't phone Pappa. How I wish we could." A flood to tears followed, gut wrenching tears. He was so sad. Finally he lifts his head, "He's never coming back, is he?".

What a horrible thing for a little boy to finally understand.

I knew that day would come, the day when the kids will finally begin to understand permanence of death and what that means for us. But I was not ready. I'm still not.

While we have been given a new beginning, a new promises for the future and joy, it does not take away our deep sense of loss. There are days at a time when life feels normal and we get on with things and we are living, not just surviving. But then there are days, like yesterday, when the loss of Jouke, of Pappa, of a really great guy, threatens to consume us again.

For me personally watching my kids hurt is the hardest. I feel so completely helpless.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's weird.
Weird, to be this happy.
Weird, because I did not expect happiness again, so soon, maybe ever.

But, it is a good weird. A great weird. I shake my head in wonder, at this and at God's majesty. In wonder that it is possible and that it is real.

I am completely happy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


When Jouke died, I lost so much. Not only did I loose my husband, the father to my kids, but a really great man. He was one of the kindest people I knew, full of fun, and a really wonderful father. I also lost my sense of security, friend, my partner and the only person who knew everything about me and loved me completely anyway.

The thing that I lost that scared me most however, was the loss of dreams and a hope for the future. Every dream I held for me and the kids was coupled to Jouke. Every plan I had for us was buried with him that day. Suddenly, we were living (if you could call it that) minute by minute. Suddenly I could not plan my day beyond lunch and then beyond getting the kids to bed. Little chucks at a time. No hope for the future, no planning beyond today.

New Years eve I remember sitting alone at home and just crying. Terrible sad, heartbreaking sobs. I cried for the loss of Jouke, but also for the loss of me, my dreams, my future and the utter loneliness I felt. It was that night that I decided I could not live like this anymore. I loved Jouke, and I always will, but I could not hold on to him any longer because I was dying too. I uncoupled my self that night. I took my wedding band off, not long after. I stopped feeling married and in the process allowed myself to begin the dream of a new future.

Little did I know God's plans. Little did I know exactly how wonderfully and beautifully God answers prayer. Little than 2 months later, I am dreaming again. I am happy and excited. And I am loved.

One of Jouke's mates has been coming around weekly to make sure we are ok and to spend time with the kids. He did not come around expecting anything in return. He did not show up with any other intention, but to be a faithful mate and to make sure that Jouke's family was looked after. And then one night, suddenly, things changed.
He saw me.

I praise God! He is a wonderful man who is willing and wanting to take on this package deal. He knows loving me means loving my children and he does so shamelessly. He realises what I (and Jouke) had to loose for us to find each other and he is not scared. Jouke will always be part of us and he is ok with that.

I cannot even begin to tell you about God's grace and mercy. I cannot begin to explain to you the power of God and how he answers prayer. All this is God's doing, without Him this smile on my face would not be possible. I thank you Jesus.

I am dreaming again. Wonderful new dreams. Hope is a beautiful thing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


"When we win lotto..."

We used to dream and wonder what it would be like to be rich. Jouke had dreams of helping his family, going on fantastic camping (huh?) holidays and making sure we owned our own home. His dreams seem small, but to us they were huge. I mean, imagine owning your own home! Being debt free! Imagine...

We never once bought a lotto ticket.

Yet here I am knowing that, in a matter of weeks, I will own our house. I will be debt free.

Instead of being elated and relieved, it feels awful. I don't feel rich. I would give it all back in heartbeat. I would trade EVERYTHING for just another moment. For a chance to say goodbye.

Riches, it turns out, has got nothing to do with money. Riches, wealth, is not material. It's not stuff.

Instead, it is a house filled with laughter and fun.
It is being surrounded by people and noise and banter.
It is the dimple in a boy's cheek that makes him look exactly like his pappa.
It is chubby arms wrapped around your neck and warm snuggles early in the morning.
It is the sure knowledge and certain hope of eternity.

It is hearing a muffled "I love you" in your ear just as you are about to fall asleep.
It is the gentle rhythm of his heartbeat and his breath on your cheek.

Monday, February 22, 2010


It is 8:30pm. I am covered in grass, hot and sweaty. I just finished moving the lawn, but I ran out of fuel as the sun set, so for today I am done.

This makes me mad.

Not mowing the lawn, but needing to mow it late, after the kids are in bed and having to stop because I can't go get more fuel while the kids are in bed. Not to mention - I can't see where I am going anymore.

Today the burden of responsibility feels to heavy to carry. I am 28. 28! What 28 year old carries this weight of responsibility? How is it that at this age when most people are just settling down for the first time or are busily climbing the corporate ladder, I am left dealing with all this?

I love my kids. I do. Everyday they are the reason I get up and function. They are the reason I want to "get better". I will not want to trade them - EVER. But some days this is too hard. Caring for them while they grieve.
Caring for them full stop.
I knew before I became a parent that this job is hard work. I knew it was a long time commitment. I thought it would be a job shared. Thought that I would have a fall-back.

Last night I had a really horrible dream. Horrible and all day I have been followed by it. And then tonight I realised that I NEED A BREAK!!

I do breakfast every morning, I care for the house, I care for the dogs, I care for the yard, I feed everyone, I clean everything, and every night I tuck 3 little bodies into bed. Then, instead of the reward of a job well done I am then faced with a long lonely night until sleep finally comes. Sleep, my only break. Unless I dream like I did last night, and then I get no rest ALL DAY LONG!

I need to find a pause button somewhere. I want to stop the ride and get off. I want to for just a few moments not have to carry this load, do all these things. I want to shake the responsibility.

I am just. so. TIRED!